Is drinking your coffee not only a necessity around midterm season but also a joy-filled passion? Have you been longing for a cup a little smoother and richer than what you have available to you here?
As a Hamiltonian, I've watched as the city has grown in its arts scene, with the coffee scene following behind it closely. Starting with the Coffeecology folks and Detour Café in Dundas, locals have seen a striking wave of independent coffee places blooming all around the city. Former Redeemer students have littered the industry at Relay, Johnny's, Finch, 541, and elsewhere. Hamilton's primary coffee roasters include Detour, Relay (formerly called Red Hill Coffee), Vintage, and Coffeecology.
Pages and pages could be written about the affect luxury coffee places have on the city. Gentrification — the influx of wealthy middle-class folks in inner city locations — is a very present phenomenon in Hamilton, displacing many of the original residents when retail prices rise. It doesn't take much to realize that luxury coffee shops are not intended for the original residents of inner-city Hamilton. The big question to ask when examining these places in the context of their neighbourhood is “who are they for and who are they not for?” There's a fine tight-rope to walk between finding joy in luxury products of any sort and excluding our neighbours, especially in urban settings.
By paying close attention to the way our purchases affect those around us, we find ourselves nonetheless in a city with a myriad of quality coffee shops to find delight in. After a few of us went on a coffee crawl around the city, we have accumulated a top 5 list of coffee shops you may not have seen yet to help guide your own adventures through Hamilton's coffee industry. Enjoy!
1. Finch Espresso Bar/Johnny's Coffee
Being an easy bus ride from campus and home to what is in our opinion one of the best lattes in Hamilton, Finch is an ideal place for quick Saturday trip! Finch and Johnny's are both owned by a former Redeemer student, Jess, and we loved the unique ambiance and service of both locations, but we were most blown away by their quality of espresso.
2. Relay Coffee Roasters
Even though the Relay makes an amazing cup of fair trade, organic drip coffee, our favourite attribute was definitely its sense of community from the moment you walk in. We loved the baristas friendliness as they served us.
3. Detour Café
With what is in my opinion the best locally roasted coffee, Detour Café has gained a ton of attention in Hamilton and beyond. The shop is in Dundas and if you have a passion for coffee, I highly recommend making a trip out there!
4. Saint James Espresso Bar & Eatery
Saint James' Steampunk is something new for Hamilton, but it has gained popularity quick. As its storefront is located on James St. North, it doesn't have a lot of sitting room, but next time you're at art crawl be sure to pop in and grab a cup for on the go!
5. The Pinecone Coffee Co.
This coffee place, new to Hamilton as of last summer, is my personal favourite place to unwind off campus. At Pinecone, you can get a killer AeroPress coffee and sit in the beautiful natural light that streams in from their front window.